Social Diary spoke to Gauhar Zahid Malik and his family (Executive Editor-Pakistan Observer) about his recent vacation with family. Let’s read and see what they were up to during their recent visit abroad…
- Where did you go?
Our trip was to a place that is one of the only three countries to span over two continents, Europe and Asia! A very famous tourist destination for the past couple of years and a place that is rich in culture, heritage and history, Turkey!
Turkey is one country you visit and do not feel alienated. A big smile can be seen on people’s faces upon getting to know that you are from Pakistan. Our 8 days and 7 nights trip involved visiting four Turkish cities. These cities involved; the hub of turkey, Istanbul, full of mosques, beaches and resorts and a place to relax Antalya, Mevlana Rumi’s city, Konya
And very famous for hot air balloons and it’s beautiful and scenic volcanic remains, Cappadocia!
- Where did you stay for most part of your trip?
We spent a total of 3 days in Istanbul where we explored beautiful sights. We visited the blue mosque, the historic topkapi palace, amazingly constructed Sulimaniya mosque and what amazing experience it was on the bosphorous cruise with lovely fish for dinner. One cannot miss walking on the 3km long isteklal road where you cannot only enjoy high end brands but also have local shop to haggle at. Sitting and seeing all the people pass by as Taksim square is something not to be missed. Next we moved to the exotic city of Antalya. Here we spent another 3 days. Our first sight was a famous place known as aspendos, an eye opening amphitheater from the Roman era. We later moved to our amazing resort hotel which had inclusive package. If someone is visiting Antalya and wants to relax and enjoy ‘Kilikya Palace Hotel and Resorts’ is our strong recommendation. Here we experienced the famous Turkish hammam (bath), steam and saunas, spa and we swam in the meditranian sea as well as their beautiful swimming pools until we were tan in the bright sun. Later, we left the resort to see two new places from Turkish history. These were the old harbour and Olympus, both in Antalya. Next we moved to konya! It took us a total
Of four an a half hours to reach from the Konya-Antalya motorway. we checked in to our hotel, the Novotel hotel. This was a newly constructed hotel and it was rather creative and abstract as compared to the hotels we are used to. Next day, we were out and about in the early hours to visit the very famous and holy tomb of Mevlana Jalal-ud-deen Rumi’s tomb. Here we learnt about Rumis time and era and how dervashes were schooled. We also got the rare chance to see a shred of hair from the beard of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which had a distinct smell one can’t forget. Later that evening we moved towards Cappadocia. It is a place one must see in their life time. We had an early dinner at a local bazaar restaurant and later enjoyed Turkish tea. Next day we woke up at around 3:30 am and left the hotel to experience the famous hot air balloons. If one visits Turkey and does not visit Cappadocia for the hot air balloon experience the trip is incomplete. The balloon ride lasts 1 hour and it is an hour out of this world. It is so picturesque that one can easily mistaken it to be a dream. Any tourist planning to go to Turkey, Cappadocia this should be on your bucket list. Shopping there is also much cheaper as compared to other cities. It is basically a travellers dream to be in Cappadocia! With this we moved back to Istanbul via one hour flight and another five hour flight back to Islamabad!
- What’s the best thing about Turkey?
There were a lot of bests about all the different cities. If one is more interested in city life, history and shopping then Istanbul is the place to be! However if you want the perfect vacation and relaxation then there is no match to Antalya. If one is more inclined towards religious history then Konya is the right place for you. However, Cappadocia is a place everyone must visit, for it is so amazing!
We also liked Turkish food and the best thing we would recommend everyone to try is their famous beans and rice with a delicious appetiser called maize! One thing you must try is their traditional Turkish tea! We were literally hooked to it and drank it glass after glass!!
- What do you miss the most back home while traveling?
No matter how much we liked Turkish cuisine, Pakistani food is irreplaceable and that is one thing we missed the most while travelling. We were craving for things as simple as daal chawal!!
- Where did you eat mostly?
We mostly ate at local Turkish restaurants. Their chicken sheesh was amazing as well the beef! We would recommend you to eat at local restaurants and to order local dishes because they’re delicious and we loved them! Furthermore eat loads of traditional appetisers because that’s something you won’t find anywhere else!
- What was the most memorable part of your trip?
Turkey is a place to visit and explore and every city had its own flavour. However the most memorable part of the trip was the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, it was something out of this world! Moreover, we were in complete awe when visiting all the heritage sites and just thinking how they were constructed thousands of years ago!!
- One place you would recommend the visitors to try the next time they visit Turkey?
As we’ve already mentioned, one place we would recommend everyone to visit is Cappadocia. It is something one hasn’t seen or experienced before anywhere and that is why we strongly recommend you to visit there! It’s a completely different experience. Not just that but it also offers many other beautiful locations where you can click some great shots! Also the shops are comparatively reasonable and they have a lot to offer!